The efficacy of hypnosis as an intervention for labor and delivery pain: a comprehensive methodological review

Clin Psychol Rev. 2011 Aug;31(6):1022-31. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Jun 23.


This paper presents a comprehensive methodological review of research on the efficacy of hypnosis for reducing labor and delivery pain. To be included, studies were required to use a between-subjects or mixed model design in which hypnosis was compared with a control condition or alternative intervention in reducing labor pain. An exhaustive search of the PsycINFO and PubMed databases produced 13 studies satisfying these criteria. Hetero-hypnosis and self-hypnosis were consistently shown to be more effective than standard medical care, supportive counseling, and childbirth education classes in reducing pain. Other benefits included better infant Apgar scores and shorter Stage 1 labor. Common methodological limitations of the literature include a failure to use random assignment, to specify the demographic characteristics of samples, and to use a treatment manual.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Labor, Obstetric / psychology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Parturition / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Treatment Outcome